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Monday, July 6, 2015

For the Mom Crying as She Drives Away from Summer Camp

I watched as the group of boys played football, throwing it from one end of the yard to the other, yelling, hollering, and overall having a great time. My heart was in my throat as I watched two boys in particular...my oldest two sons.

My heart was silently shattering into a million tiny pieces as I watched them play, the two of them unaware that I had even pulled into the lot.

They were at sleep-away camp for the first time. At 9 and 10 years old, I wasn't confident they were old enough or ready to be away from home for an entire 5 days/6 nights. And, truthfully, I wasn't quite sure I was ready.

We went to registration with every intention of dropping off and picking up every day, right before breakfast, and right before bed. But as soon as the boys saw that their friend from church was going to stay the week, they immediately changed their minds and asked to stay too. 

I had already said my goodbyes, but with the understanding that I would be back to bring all the stuff we hadn't thought we'd need: sheets, pillow, change of clothes for the week, clean underwear, toothpaste, and shower soap that I'm not confident they'll even use...

But once I pulled back in and saw them playing, it started all over again for me,

It took them a while to notice me. Once they did, I expected them to run over to the van, but they didn't. They actually acted as if they hadn't seen me! I know this is all part of it--this growing up business that I haven't totally bought into, and it stung. 

I restrained myself enough not to call their names. I wanted to play the part of the cool mom, the one who waves happily and says, "have a great time!" and then makes plans to meet some friends for coffee. Truthfully, I'm not that mom. I don't know that I'll ever be or if I even want to be. 

The boys ran into their cabin with their new bunk-mates and I thought for a horrifying few moments that I wouldn't get to see them again before driving off, but then there they both were. I saw them come out onto their porch. And I have to tell you--in that moment, my whole being seized with such an intense and primal instinct. I said to myself, "They are mine. Those boys, those beautiful, sweet boys are my treasures. I am loaning them to you, world. Loaning. I want them back. You're so very lucky that I am generously loaning them to you..."

It was a quick thought, and it was immediately followed by the Lord pressing on my heart, "Just the way I am loaning them to you."

I know they aren't really mine. I also know that a week at sleep-away camp isn't tantamount to sending them off to war, like some moms have had to do. But man oh man, does it hurt. And I think it hurts so much because I realize this is just a glimpse of all the times I'm going to have to let them go as they get older, as they blossom into adults and go out into the world. 

My chief worry this week is that they'll be homesick and too embarrassed to tell anyone, that they'll skin their knee, or someone will be mean to them, but I realize that before I know it, I'll have greater worries. 

It's this time right now that I need to be putting Christ in front of them through my actions, the way I live my life, and by making sure they are in the Word. I need to be drinking in the moments that will be gone too fast. I need to hug a little longer, play games when I'd rather do something else and ignore the to-do list when they want my attention. 

This is a big deal for me, letting then stay at sleep-away camp. I didn't write The Anxious Mom eBook because I'm a calm, rational mom who enjoys her kids being away from her. I wrote it because I recognize the vast and gaping hole that should be my faith and Trust in God. 

Something I am realizing is that when you ask God to lead you on a journey toward being more Christ-like and to trust in Him, He will launch you on that journey. And with gusto! Instead of simply snapping His Divine fingers and granting me unwavering faith and trust or removing my fear and worry, He is instead placing me in situations and giving me opportunities to flex my trust muscle. I can either SAY I trust Him but still squirrel my kids away at home, or I can take a step in faith and allow myself to stand in that scary, terrifying place where I only have the Lord to hold onto for support. Instead of saying, "I trust You, Lord!" I can SHOW HIM that I do. 

I hate every single second of it.

And if one more person tells me to "let go" and stop worrying, violence may ensue. 

OF COURSE I know they're right. I know they are, those annoying individuals who wave their kids off to camp and college as if it isn't like losing a limb. {I'm only slightly serious about the "annoying" part...}

It doesn't make it any less hard. 

You're a mom who easily allows your kids to take chances, be independent and explore the world without you? That's fabulous! Kudos! I would like to be more comfortable doing the same. 

But please, please, don't poo poo a mom who is more apprehensive and less free to do so. 

Are you a mom who cried when dropping off her precious cargo at camp? Hear! Hear! I am with you in complete and full soilidarity! I feel you! I got you! I am metaphorically fist-bumping you right now. 

Let's do this together. Let's turn to the Lord and trust Him to care for what is His, K? 

But it doesn't mean we have to like it and it doesn't mean we won't cry bucket loads while we do...

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